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AAS in Veterinary Technology: Degree Overview

Learn about associate degree programs in veterinary technology. Find out what is needed to enroll, what courses are taken and what advanced degrees graduates can pursue. Professional certification, expected employment growth rates and annual salaries for veterinary technicians are also discussed.

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Essential Information

Veterinary technology programs provide students with the skills needed to work as helpers to veterinarians. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in veterinary technology can learn how to care for animals within a veterinary office, provide ethical treatment of animals in research labs and assist veterinarians during surgeries. Classroom instruction is often supported by hands-on experiences through internships at veterinary hospitals and private practices.

Many such programs result in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. An AAS in Veterinary Technology program is typically available at technical schools and community colleges. The American Veterinary Medical Association accredits veterinary technology programs across the country. Graduates of these programs are generally prepared to sit for certification exams.

Education Prerequisites

Some AAS programs require students to complete specific biology, chemistry, algebra and computer courses before enrolling in the program. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.

Course Topics

In addition to general education requirements, students typically complete courses in veterinary medicine and animal science. Students learn how to x-ray and anesthetize animals, analyze blood samples and care for distressed animal patients. Examples of courses offered include:

  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal nutrition
  • Radiology
  • Veterinary nursing procedures

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment for veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to increase by 30% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The increase may be due to rising pet ownership numbers and a higher demand for veterinary services. In May 2012, the BLS reported that veterinary technologists and technicians earned a median annual salary of $30,290.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates can seek immediate employment or pursue bachelor's degree programs in veterinary technology. Students enrolled in these 4-year programs take additional courses in animal science and receive pre-clinical training.

Veterinary technicians and technologists must typically be licensed, certified or registered within the state where they want to practice. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards administers the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Associate's degree holders can sit for state certification tests.

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